Simplicity by Choice

Off-Grid Living & Self-Reliance

Recycled Convenience March 26, 2013

Filed under: family,green living,pantry building,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 9:11 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I have been taking note of the prices of the serving size packages of yogurt and other foods that we enjoy. It is ridiculous to see how pricey most of these can be.

About 2 weeks ago, I stopped at a KFC to get some lunch for the kids and I. They have the small reuseable plastic containers for their individual orders of side dishes. We saved the containers to reuse when we got home.

I bought a quart size container of yogurt at the store for about $2.50. Using the containers from KFC, I filled up 4 of them to make the kids their own individual servings of yogurt. A 4-pack of yogurt, in the same measurement, costs $1.88 if you buy the Great Value brand from Walmart. The quart size yogurt container is still 3/4 full. This means that I should easily get 12 of those KFC containers worth of yogurt from that quart. If I bought 12 of the individual yogurts at a rate of $1.88 per 4-pack, that comes out to $5.64. By making up my own using recycled containers and buying a quart of the same brand of yogurt, I can get those 12 individual serving for $2.50 or a savings of $3.14. In other words, I can get double the amount (24 individual servings) and still be 64¢ under the price of buying 3 of the 4-packs of yogurt. If you make your own yogurts the savings are even better of course.

I do this same type of thing with jello and puddings. Instead of buying the snack containers, make a box of jello or pudding but divide it into individual serving containers before refrigerating. The convenience is still the same in that you have grab & go containers, but you are spending far less.

I look back at all the snack size packaging that we used to purchase and I cringe. We wasted so much money back then. Now, we are doing it a lot cheaper. The kids still have their snacks available, but we are smarter about the costs. Filling the containers takes only a couple of minutes of my time. Well worth the savings!

You can take this idea to other areas. One is to buy (or make your own) trail mix in large quantity. Using small containers, repackage the trail mix into serving size portions. This again will cut down the expense.

If you have access to a health food store that sells unflavored gelatin in bulk bins, buy it that way instead of buying boxes of jello or packets of knox gelatin. To make your own jello, mix 1 Tablespoon of unflavored gelatin to 2 cups of fruit juice. No sugar is used as the juice is already naturally sweet.

There are many homemade granola recipes available online. Add dried fruits and nuts of your choice to make your own healthy snacks or cereals. As with everything else, you can use recycled containers to make your own individual snack packets.

As you look around your kitchen or pantry, take note of the containers that you can reuse for other purposes. By contrast really noet how much trash you will be tossing out once the single use containers are emptied. It can be quite an education! I now look at most containers at the store. If I can get the same or similar product in a package that can be reused or better yet, composed or burned, then I will buy those before buying a container that is single use. This alone can save you money as well.


Homemade Seasonings February 18, 2013

Filed under: cooking,pantry building,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 8:00 pm
Tags: , , , ,

When our Grandma’s were cooking, they didn’t have the convenience of all the various spice blends that can be found today in the grocery store. If they wanted something special, they had to make it themselves. Here are some cheap and easy recipes for making your own too.

Garlic Salt

This happens to be one of my husband’s favorite seasonings. It is ridiculously easy to make and takes just a few minutes of your time. I prefer to make it in small batches so that it is always as fresh as possible. You will need: 1 clove garlic and sea salt.

Finely mince or crush a clove as garlic. I nearly mash the garlic to make a paste consistency. With a knife or fork, work into the garlic about 2-3 teaspoons of sea salt. As you mix them, teh salt will clump due to absorbing the moisture from the garlic. Keep mixing in a little sea salt until the salt no longer clumps together. I spread it out onto the cutting board and allow it to dry for about an hour. that step may not be essential, but it is a habit I am into. Store in an airtight container.

Here is a fun use for the Garlic Salt you just made.

Italian Seasoning

1 Tbsp. Garlic Salt
2 Tbsp ground oregano
1 Tbsp parsley
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1/4 tsp dried thyme flakes
1/4 tsp dried celery seeds

Mix all ingredients well and store in a jar.

Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs

1 cup of dried bread crumbs
3.5 teaspoons of Italian Seasoning

Mix together well and store in a jar.



Herbal Garden Planning November 12, 2011

Filed under: homesteading,old fashioned,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 10:04 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Tis the season.  I am thinking ahead to spring and the planting of an herb garden.  I already have enough garden seed for a couple of years’ worth of planting, so now my thoughts are turning towards the herbs.

I am planning to grow both culinary and medicinal herbs for the family.  This had led me on a search.  I am looking into expanding the homestead library to add some good natural remedy reference books as well as books on the growing, harvesting and storing of herbs.

I have always loved the blessings of herbal teas.  I have had too many times in my life when the herbal approach was very effective to discount it as an option.  In a self-reliant homestead, it is also a good next step.

Of course you have to use common sense and become well educated in the use of herbs.  You have to keep in mind that most medications that we have today can be linked back to natural herbs and plants from which major ingredients were derived.  If you have a serious condition, you never use only herbal approach without guidance.  For this reason, I am going cautiously.  I am being careful in my choice of reference books and am looking into taking classes in the use of herbs.